Bangladesh denies local firm permit to invest in Gambia

Bangladesh denies local firm permit to invest in Gambia

A Bangladeshi firm has been denied permission to invest in an agricultural bank in the Gambia by the government of the South Asian nation.

Nitol-Niloy Group, with at least two other local firms willing to invest abroad, has failed to obtain the Bangladeshi government’s Cabinet Economic Affairs Committee approval for foreign investment.

Their proposed investment together amounts US$37.44 million, according to officials of this low lying riverine country located between the foothills of the Himalayas and the Indian Ocean.

Nitol-Niloy Group, a leading trading house of Indian motor vehicles, sought to invest $7 million in setting up a bank in The Gambia. The proposed bank was named Gambia Commerce and Agricultural Bank (GCAB) Limited.

The Bangladesh Foreign Exchange Regulation Act restricts equity investment abroad and it requires to take government permission for offshore equity investment.

GCAB would have been the only bank in the West African nation that focuses on the agriculture sector. Agribusiness employs about 75% of Gambia labor force but it still accounts for less than 20% of Gambia GDP.

This is partly due to the lack of access to finance challenges faced by the sector investors. This bank can provide financial products and services that will support the industrialization of agriculture, infrastructure development, commodities distribution solutions and other areas of the agricultural value chain.

(Reporting by Mustapha Darboe; Writing by Sam Phatey; Additional Reporting and Writing by Ebrima Sawaneh)

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